Have you ever been surrounded by rocks that glow? You will be when you visit the Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature at the University of Richmond. Tucked within a gallery filled with intriguing objects like fossils, shells, a giant clam, decorative arts, ancient coins, and different kinds of gems and minerals - the Fluorescent Mineral room is a site not to miss. Watch the video below to find out more.
In the Fluorescent Mineral Room you will discover more than 300 specimens of 40 different minerals and explore the science behind why these minerals glow. When you first enter the gallery, you are surrounded by normal, everyday looking rocks. But when you push the big green button - the room goes completely dark. Then slowly, ultraviolet lights turn on and hundreds of rocks begin to glow. You are soon surrounded by a broad spectrum of vivid colors. All of the minerals are fluorescing and emitting colors ranging from the bright reddish-orange and green rocks of calcite, the yellow-green of hyalite opal slabs, and the deep red of rubies from India.
Some of the things you will learn when you visit the exhibition are:
- What happens when you hit the big green button? (PDF)
- How do minerals fluoresce? (PDF)
- What is ultraviolet light? (PDF)
While I was there, I talked with several students to find out what they thought of the Glowing Rocks at the University of Richmond:
I am very surprised that this is here! I’m going to bring my whole family to see this!” - Rawan
The rocks - the calcite - they were just beautiful! These are definitely not ordinary rocks! There isn’t anything ordinary here!” - Christina
The Fluorescent Mineral Room at the Lora Robins Gallery of Design from Nature is wonderfully surprising and is a perfect opportunity to dazzle your entire family with science in action. Go and check it out and let me know what you discover!
Article by: Debbie Mickle, Science Matters Project Manager